Orlando united af­ter mass shoot­ing

Orlando united af­ter mass killing

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

The last of the bodies were re­moved from an Orlando night­club yes­ter­day as in­ves­ti­ga­tors dug into the back­ground of the gun­man who killed 49 peo­ple and dev­as­tated a city.

“We will not be de­fined by the act of a cow­ardly hater,” Mayor Buddy Dyer vowed, speak­ing a day af­ter the dead­li­est mass shoot­ing in mod­ern US his­tory.

The killer, who died in a gun bat­tle with a SWAT team early on Sun­day, was iden­ti­fied as Omar Ma­teen, a 29-year-old Amer­i­can who au­thor­i­ties say called 911 from the club to claim al­le­giance to ISIS.

FBI of­fi­cials said they had in­ves­ti­gated him in 2013 and 2014 on sus­pi­cion of ter­ror­ist sym­pa­thies but could not make a case against him.

Ma­teen opened fire at the Pulse Orlando club with an AR-15 semi-au­to­matic ri­fle in such close quar­ters that the bul­lets could hardly miss. He was gunned down af­ter po­lice used ex­plo­sives and an ar­moured ve­hi­cle to punch a hole in a wall and al­low dozens of club-go­ers to es­cape, po­lice said.

Au­thor­i­ties have not said whether Ma­teen was directed by ISIS or sim­ply acted in sym- pa­thy with the ex­trem­ist group. His fa­ther sug­gested an­other mo­tive: anti-gay ha­tred. The fa­ther said his son re­cently got an­gry when he saw two men kiss­ing in Mi­ami. Ma­teen’s ex-wife said he was men­tally ill - specif­i­cally, bipo­lar. Ma­teen was the son of an Afghan im­mi­grant and lived in Fort Pierce, Florida, where he had worked as a se­cu­rity guard. ISIS’ ra­dio sta­tion called Ma­teen “one of the soldiers of the caliphate in Amer­ica”.

Thirty-nine of the dead were killed at the club, and the oth­ers died at hos­pi­tals, the mayor said. By yes­ter­day morn­ing, fam­i­lies of 24 of the vic­tims had been no­ti­fied, Dyer said.

Ma­teen ex­changed gun­fire with 14 po­lice of­fi­cers at the club and took hostages at one point. In ad­di­tion to the as­sault ri­fle, he also had a hand­gun. Po­lice Chief John Mina (pic­tured left) said of­fi­cers held back for some time be­cause Ma­teen in­di­cated he had a bomb vest.

ANGUISH: Tributes are laid out­side the scene of the mass shoot­ing in Orlando

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